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Doctor saves twins while still inside womb

September 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local doctor performs a rare surgery and saves the lives of twins twice while they were still in their mother's womb.Lisa Davis almost lost her girls two times, having two fetal surgeries in one pregnancy.

"I almost didn't have them -- twice," said Davis.

Davis developed twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome just months into her pregnancy. That's when one identical twin gives too much blood to the other and doesn't get enough blood back.

"If she chose to do nothing she would lose the pregnancy with a 90 to 95 percent chance of loss," said Dr. Ramen Chmait of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Los Angeles.

Dr. Chmait and his team came aboard. He's one of the few who can separate those blood vessels by using a laser.

The twins no longer shared blood flow, and the surgery was a success.

"One minute we were ecstatic and the next minute we were 'Oh, my gosh,'" said Davis.

Dr. Chmait then found a blood vessel from the placenta trapped between the fetus and the opening of the birth canal. It's called vasa previa. It occurs in just one out of every 3000 births.

"If that door were to open the blood vessel will burst and the baby will have a high rate of either bleeding out or dying," said Dr. Chmait.

Just like the first surgery, he lasered the vessels shut and delivered the twins six weeks early.

"I remember very well. He came up to me, held my hand, and said 'You did it Lisa,'" said Davis.

"I think that's why she's so thankful," said Dr. Chmait.

This surgery has been performed only a handful of times around the world. The twins are healthy and show no side effects of the surgeries they underwent while still in the womb.

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